President Donald Trump on the UN Security Council (UNSC) when the US held the rotating presidency of the council. Photo credit: UN Photo / Cia PakROME, Nov 11 (IPS) – It is now clear that Joe Biden is the new President of the United States. Donald Trump’s legal maneuver is unlikely to change the election result when a Conservative Supreme Court ruled in 2000 in favor of George Bush over Al Gore, who lost by 535 votes.
Even this Supreme Court, in which Trump has six sympathetic members (three appointed by him, quite a record) and only three disagreeable, will dare to change an outcome from too many states.
Trump is gone, but it’s sad to say that Trumpism stays here. But is this a specific situation in the United States or a more general phenomenon? We believe that in a time of globalization we should try a global analysis.
This will leave out a ton of facts, events and analysis, but this is the fate of journalism now. Everyone can add what they think is relevant and decide what has been left out. This will be a big improvement over this condensed analysis.
But let’s start with the United States first. Biden’s victory was due to the unusually high turnout, which attracted 67% of the electorate. In the American elections, the turnout rarely exceeds 50%, although the largest turnout was in 1900 when 73% of the population voted.
Remember, in the US, voting is defined as a privilege, not a duty. To vote you have to register and many states make this a demanding task that automatically excludes the more fragile segment of the population.
Biden won the largest referendum in US history: 71.4 million against Barack Obama’s 69.4 million. Even so, Trump received 68.3 million votes, almost four million more than in 2016, despite a pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 people to date, with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and after four years of confrontation some massive, like Black Live’s matter .
He doubled the votes of the LGBT community, received 18% of the African American vote, white women increased their votes by 6%, and won Florida thanks to the Latino votes (Cubans, Venezuelans and, to a lesser extent, Puerto Ricans).
The United States is going through a demographic shift that will further exacerbate polarization. The Census Bureau estimates that this year the majority of the country’s 74 million children will not be white. And by the decade of the 2040s, the white population will be below 49%, while the other 51% will be Latinos, Blacks, Asians and other minorities.
The emergence of the United States is different from that of Europe. It was created by the immigration of English religious radicals who wanted to create a new world, a “city that shines on a hill,” where their country’s secularism and moral corruption would be left behind. Upon arrival, they had to fight aboriginal people who were considered barbarians with no real religion (similar to the Spanish conquest in Latin America).
The War of Independence from England strengthened the moral value of their actions: freedom from tyranny, and with the industrial revolution came wave after wave of immigrants, all of whom fled Europe because of poverty or oppression. They were also uneducated and forced to integrate into an already existing strong society that defined itself as a WASP (white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant) society.
To this end, the US invented the mass media as a melting pot tool (until then, newspapers in Europe had small editions for the elites) and two myths: American exceptionalism and the American dream.
The Conquest of the West was a national saga, with the cinema as another instrument for the melting pot. Children of various immigrants reacted with glee to the sound of the trumpet heralding the cavalry attack that would wipe out hordes of attacking Indians.
In addition to media and cinema, a strong industry shaped taste and consumption patterns. An abundance of natural resources and the constant arrival of immigrants resulted in continuous growth. Here the two myths become the undisputed truth. The American state of emergency, the fact that the United States has a different fate than any other country, has become an integral part of public discourse.
In 1850, President James Monroe issued a declaration that no European country was allowed to intervene in Latin America. And even today, a large part of the population believes that the US has the right to intervene in the world because the US is the guardian of order and law in a chaotic world.
To become an American citizen, you have to swear that you will forget your origins because you will be born a new man. The inscription on the Statue of Liberty, which millions of immigrants first saw after a long journey, has an inscription that well symbolizes the myth:
Keep, old lands, your famous pomp! “, Calls the statue with silent lips. Lost for me, I lift my lamp next to the golden door!
The second myth, the American dream, was another powerful tool for patience and hard work. It was part of the Protestant founding legacy. Everyone who works hard gets rich or rich. If you don’t get rich, it’s because you haven’t tried hard enough.
This is the myth that the evangelical church has adopted: God rewards the hardworking believer, not the lazy. As a result, God does not take poverty into account. And the Evangelical Church has achieved a remarkable result (not just in the US, but everywhere, from Brazil to Guatemala): the poor vote on the right.
The US state of emergency is evident in other English colonies. Australia, for example, has been the target of prostitutes, thieves and bankrupt British citizens. It would never be conceivable for the Australian Prime Minister to speak on behalf of Australia and humanity, as the US President routinely does. The Prime Minister of Canada also never speaks in God’s name or says that God loves Canada. The US is the only country in the world that does not accept its military personnel being tried in a foreign court.
Roberto Savio, and the United States saw World War II as a confirmation of their state of emergency and their role as defenders of humanity. Despite the huge loss of Russian troops and civilians (27 million versus 419,000 Americans), the United States of America was the clear winner against the evils of Nazism and fascism. She won the war because of her amazing military production (one ship in three days) and the construction of the atomic bomb. So, with all of its amplified myths, the US entered our era today.
And the Marshall Plan that raised Europe from its ruins was a measure of containment against the new evil, communism, but it also became the ultimate proof of its superiority and solidarity.
The US also created the United Nations as an institution that would avoid the repetition of the horrors of war. The intent was to bring all counties under one roof and make decisions through debate and agreement, not war.
But the world did not freeze because the American vision of the world became a straitjacket for the US. It preached freedom of trade and investment. Of course, it was by far the strongest country and thus the winner of an American world order, the Soviet threat of which was formulated in 1947 by the American diplomat George F. Kennan.
But once the UN expands from the original 50 countries to 187 and you insist on free competition and trade, you become a victim of your rhetoric. These countries in a democratic institution all have one vote. In 1973 the General Assembly voted unanimously for a new world economic order based on international solidarity and the transfer of wealth from rich countries to the poor for world development.
The United States voted with the General Assembly. But then came Ronald Reagan, an admirer of John Wayne and in many ways a forerunner of Trump. Shortly after his election, Reagan attended the 1981 North-South Summit of the Head of State in Cancun, Mexico, to announce that the US no longer accepts being a country like everyone else and that it would pursue a more comfortable foreign policy to its Interests.
Reagan also envisioned radical change at home. He was firmly convinced that the values of social justice, solidarity and fiscal justice put the brakes on the economy and society. He was the first to introduce the idea that the state (the “beast”) was bloated, costly, and inefficient, and the enemy of corporations and corporations that should be left untouched so that all of their creativity can be unleashed.
Among other things, he wanted to close the Ministry of Education because he believed that education could be made better through the private system. He was a very good communicator and a specialist at finding simple answers to very complicated problems and trivializing the real problem – an example for the environment: industries don’t pollute, trees pollute. In his day, the United States (for a select few) had reached an impressive level of research and teaching, as evidenced by the large number of Nobel Prizes.
Reagan was also the first to openly challenge the elites and speak on behalf of the citizens: the people. And here US history loses its individual identity and begins to merge with the world. Reagan had a counterpart in Europe, Margaret Thatcher, who shared the same vision and fought unions, cut government spending, privatized railways, airports, and whatever else was possible. She famously declared that “society doesn’t exist, only individuals”. Together they started the so-called neoliberal globalization and withdrew from UNESCO. The main basis was that the market, and no longer people, was the basis of economy and society. US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said globalization is the new name for American Domination.
All of this was reinforced by three historical events:
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 removed the threat of communism and gave capitalism complete freedom of action.
The Washington Consensus set by the US Treasury Department, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. The consensus ruled worldwide that social costs were unproductive and that all national barriers should be removed so that investment and free trade can flourish and privatize as much as possible.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s “Third Way” theory is that it would be best for the left to ride it and become its human face, as it was impossible to stop globalization. Under American influence, neoliberal globalization became the norm of governance at the national and international levels for two decades. According to its apologists, it would raise all boats.
But in 2008 an earthquake hit Wall Street. In 1999, under Bill Clinton, the Steagall Glass Ordinance, passed after the 1929 crash, was abolished. This regulation kept investment banks separate from traditional commercial banks. A huge tsunami hit investments, i. H. Speculation.
The banking system was free of all oversight and international scrutiny (the banking sector is the only one in the world with no regulatory or oversight authorities) and took on a life of its own, leaving the real economy. And it got more and more speculative until the American banks practically went bankrupt in 2008.
This crisis has spread around the world, and banks in Europe also went bankrupt in 2009. The OECD estimates that the world had to invest two trillion dollars to save the banking system. That’s $ 267 per person in a world where nearly 2 billion people were living on less than $ 2 a day at the time.
The crisis of 2008/09 and the resulting uncertainty and fear required a critical examination of neoliberal theory. For nearly three decades, citizens, the media, civil society, economists, sociologists and statisticians have denounced that globalization actually exacerbated social injustice. Many people were dispossessed by the relocation of businesses to cheaper places to earn income, uneven growth between cities and rural areas, and serious damage to the planet, and there was an urgent need to address these abuses.
After 8 years of George W. Bush, wars and a lack of awareness of the country’s social problems, in 2009 America chose a man with a message of hope, integration and peace: Barack Obama. But if Obama really wanted to unravel a system that had been in place for 20 years, it was beyond his reach. In 2015, the U.S. Senate passed into Republican hands, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked every possible move by the Obama administration.
In 2017, he refused to even consider Obama’s Supreme Court proposal, as there would be elections in ten months (the same Mitch McConnell who received the appointment of Catholic integralist and traditionalist Amy Coney Barrett just three weeks the night before the just held Elections).
As Obama-inspired dreams began to fade, the 2009 crisis brought some unprecedented political developments. Uncertainty and fear have also been exacerbated by the influx of immigrants from countries destabilized by US and European interventions in countries such as Iraq, Libya and Syria, and those escaping dictatorial regimes and starvation.
All over the world this led to a flowering of nationalism and xenophobia, with so-called “sovranist” parties being formed in every country in Europe and gradually around the world. They all relied on xenophobia against migrants, the denunciation of world and regional institutions as illegitimate and enemies of national interests, and spoke on behalf of the people who were victims of globalization: workers from factories that had closed for delocalization, to a glory past ( Brexit, 2016), people from rural areas left behind by the faster development of cities (the yellow jackets in France in 2018), India’s brutal annexation of Kashmir by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019, the amazing elimination Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro protecting the Amazon in 2019, Xi annexation of Hong Kong 2020.
So it would be a mistake to point Trump out when we are faced with a much more serious problem. Trump now of course leaves the others naked. Maybe this is the beginning of a new political cycle … but the system is broken now and it is almost impossible to fix.
The coronavirus pandemic has put another nail in the coffin. The negationist wave is another symptom of how the crisis of confidence has undermined our society. Incidentally, we now have two supporters of the Qanon conspiracy theory who were elected in the House of Representatives. The Qanon theory holds that Hillary Clinton and several other important figures, from Bill Gates to George Soros, gather to drink the blood of boys in the basement of a pizzeria in New York. Trump is supposed to be the savior. The fact that the pizzeria in question does not have a basement does not matter.
To return to the United States, the myths of the State of Emergency and the American Dream in the United States are now gone. Trump has done surprisingly well when you look at the situation through the eyes of a cultured man. He is the first President of the United States to never speak on behalf of the people. On the contrary, he portrayed those who did not vote as un-American.
In his government he had very few cabinet meetings and ruled through tweets, rarely consulting his staff. He mobilized the fears of the white population against immigrants and other minorities; He proclaimed law and order against any mobilization and demonized the participants.
He is the quintessential narcissism, he only loves himself, he doesn’t care about others and he doesn’t trust anyone. He is an example of misogynism, he paid his taxes in China but not in the US. He started the Post-Truth Era by making several false statements every day.
He has used public administration as his personal staff, constantly changing civil servants and involving people who share his views in their work. The Minister of Education does not believe in the public school. The Minister of Justice believes that the President has power over the judiciary. The environmentalist is against clean energy. It looks like vampires run blood banks!
There is no point in listing all of Trump’s disasters in international affairs as they are known. He has withdrawn from the idea of international cooperation, from the Paris Climate Agreement, from the World Health Organization, endangered the World Trade Organization (a US creation), favored dictators like Putin and Kim Il Jong and trivialized the NATO alliance (another US creation ), and we could go on and on.
He represents the classic American isolationism: Let us withdraw from a world in chaos that does not value us, but only wants to exploit us. But we now live in a multipolar world and globalization is played by many hands. By 2035, China will have surpassed the US as the world’s strongest power.
Still, Trump has drawn votes from all sick layers of American society. The whites who feel threatened; the rural population who feel left behind; the workers from factories that have closed for delocalization; the affluent suburban middle class, who felt threatened by the poor who invaded their properties; the blacks who become middle class and look in horror at the misery of the majority of African Americans; the Evangelicals, delighted to see a Supreme Court going right and having a Vice President, Mike Pence, and a Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who are Evangelicals; those who preserve the myth of the Far West, its individualism, its macho value and its weapons; all who regard the state, the public, as the enemy of freedom; the police officers who found their impunity under judgment; those who decided that women, gays, abortion, and human rights are tipping America into the opposite of its core values.
All of these people exist, they were united by Trump, but they outlive him. And in a country where there is now hatred and adversaries have become enemies, in a country plagued by the opioid epidemic, where an American under the age of six has mental health problems, and every year more people have guns die than in the Vietnam War, what creates unity is a very, very difficult task.
Democrats thought that putting together an older and more civilized candidate, Joe Biden, would bring back empathy and dialogue as an aggregate. In fact, it looks more like Trump lost the election than Biden won them.
Progressives see him as the embodiment of the establishment and will continue to push him to break free from the system. We won’t know until January 6th if the Republican Party is likely to stick with the Senate and if the Senate is returning under the control of Mitch McConnell. The blockade he placed in front of Obama will look like soft times.
Biden will be able to reverse many of Trump’s executive orders, but for example, he will not be able to change the composition of the Supreme Court, which will last at least a couple of decades. He won’t be able to increase health insurance.
The chance of raising the minimum wage and raising taxes for the very rich will be close to zero. Republicans are now once again becoming custodians of austerity after leaving Trump to bring the national deficit to unprecedented levels. And the increasingly powerful left of the Democratic Party will try to condition and push Biden, whom they voted for, just to get rid of Trump.
Trump has now lost his Teflon and he’s a loser. But he has 68 million followers on Twitter and is likely to open his own TV channel. It will be a serious problem for the Republican Party. He will cultivate the myth of the stolen elections and keep his followers in a state of confrontation. Trump is gone, but Trumpism remains.
And that goes for the world. Until we eradicate neoliberal globalization, the Trumps, Bolsonaros, Viktor Orbans, etc. of this world will only be the visible part of the iceberg. But what will that do? We have a glimmer of hope from civil society. The climate drama has brought young people back to acting. And then there are the other two world mobilizations, Me Too for the dignity of women and Black Lives Matter to fight racism (which is not just an American phenomenon) that have brought millions of people together around the world.
We are in a transition phase. It’s not clear what, but we can only hope it will be bloodless. In the end, it will depend on men and women around the world, on the ability to find common values in our diversity in order to build peace relationships and create social justice, solidarity and participation as global bridges. Controlling climate change and saving our planet is an immediate and urgent task. This will depend on each of us, and we must make this the first bridge that goes with all of humanity.
The Italian-Argentine editor of OtherNews, Roberto Savio, is an economist, journalist, communications expert, political commentator, activist for social and climatic justice, and advocate of anti-neoliberal global governance. Director of International Relations at the European Center for Peace and Development. He is a co-founder of the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency and its President Emeritus.
(2020) – All rights reserved